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Painting a bright future

Overcoming challenging times, Jamestown continues to invest in its future and has recently commissioned a new blast tunnel and adjoining paint hall.

When we look back in the years ahead, we will remind ourselves of the challenges we have overcome in recent years, Brexit, COVID-19, the steel crisis, the energy crisis and more recently the dreadful war in Ukraine.

Aside from the personal toll each has impacted on the population, anyone involved in the steel construction business will know first-hand how difficult it has been to maintain our businesses, let alone develop and grow.

Mark Stewart, Jamestown’s UK Business Development Manager, says he understands first-hand the challenges of growing a business, while maintaining existing business when outside influences continually impact your plans.

“We must constantly improve, becoming more efficient, investing in new people, equipment and new ways of working in an endeavour to support our customers who face the same challenges,” he says.

“Let’s not forget just how much Jamestown has evolved from its roots in Inchicore, Dublin some 28 years ago as a steel profiling and stockholding business. Moving to Newbridge in 2003 where major investment in new plasma and oxy-fuel profiling machines was soon followed by the installation of our first T & I automated beam welding line and the manufacture of plate girders and cellular beams commenced. Having outgrown the Newbridge site, Jamestown relocated to the current 23 acre site in Portarlington in 2015.”

This provided the platform for further investment and a year later a second T & I automated beam line was installed, followed by increased plasma and oxy-fuel capacity to support it.
Niall Fortune, Jamestown’s General Manager, comments: “As the business continues to grow, we must continually adapt our processes and ways of working as the demands of the industry continually present new challenges.”

The company says that managing such a large site is challenging and the handling and processing of raw materials had to be improved to reduce overall process times. As more challenging and demanding construction projects presented themselves, often including bridge structures, heavy box girder fabrication and more complex fabricated assemblies often requiring full fabrication and assembly of component parts, the next natural step was to offer our customers shotblast and painting, which enables the finished goods to be shipped direct to site.

So, the company began designing and installing shotblast and painting facilities large enough to handle the biggest and heaviest plate girders, cellular beams, crane gantries and other complex structures, while also planning for future developments.

With this in mind, a blast tunnel has been installed, which is 7m-high × 8m-wide × 34m-long with an adjoining paint hall, which is 7m-high × 8m-wide × 41m-long and enables heavier items to be carried through both facilities utilising a 45t straddle carrier.

Initially, all blasting and painting is being performed manually, but in the longer term, and with further investment, the intention is to install a fully automated process.

Jaroslaw Kawinski, Jamestown’s Paint Shop Manager, who has overseen the construction of the new facilities, says: “In the fullness of time, we will be recognised throughout the industry, not only for the high quality of the fabrications we produce but also for the quality of our painting.

“As Jamestown continues to grow its business, investment in a strong team ensures maximum support for our customers’ needs in an everchanging marketplace. It is not enough to be able to fabricate a 100t single structure or produce several thousand tonnes of plate girders or cellular beams, painted or not, we need to be flexible to accommodate the regular variations that are imposed upon us.”

Jamestown has come a long way since the early days in Inchicore and as Mr Fortune sums up: “Continued investment in the right people and the latest technologies reaffirms Jamestown’s position as a leading manufacturer in this challenging business with a positive outlook for the future.”

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